Common Short Code

What Does Common Short Code Mean?

A Common Short Code (CSC) is a short numeric code used to access certain mobile services via the transmission of special Short Message Service (SMS) messages. A CSC is usually three to six digits in length and designed for quick and easy mobile device entry.


Supported by all major carriers, CSCs suit a variety of interactive purposes, including ordering ringtones or making charity donations.

Techopedia Explains Common Short Code

A CSC may be obtained from the Common Short Code Administration (CSCA), Mobile Application Service Providers (MASP) and wireless carriers. A CSC application must be submitted to the appropriate wireless carrier for processing.

CSC-based campaign development may be expedited by tapping into MASPs and their knowledge of the intricacies related to CSC campaigns. MASP services range from small projects to full-fledged campaign management.

CSCs are usually available as either of the following types:

  • Random: Upon campaign application approval, a random CSCA number.
  • Vanity: A user selects a number from the CSCA online database.

In a typical CSC campaign, subscribers enter SMS message text that is sent to the specified short code. For example, the text may specify a ringtone name or account number.


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Margaret Rouse is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical, business audience. Over the past twenty years her explanations have appeared on TechTarget websites and she's been cited as an authority in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine and Discovery Magazine.Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages. If you have a suggestion for a new definition or how to improve a technical explanation, please email Margaret or contact her…